C4 to follow lawyer Mark Lewis in revolutionary MS stem cell trial
Mark Lewis, one of Britain’s top super lawyers might have taken on the world’s most powerful media mogul but can he do the same to Multiple Sclerosis?
Filmed over the course of a year with exclusive access, Patient 31 (w/t) will follow the progress of high-profile media, libel and privacy lawyer Mark Lewis as he embarks on revolutionary stem cell trials for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in a journey that will end in either a medical breakthrough and miraculous recovery or see his continued gradual decline.
At the age of 25 Mark received the devastating news that he had MS, a degenerative condition of the central nervous system, which is responsible for controlling all the functions in the body, in which the coating around nerve fibres become damaged. There is currently no cure and over the last few years Mark’s condition has worsened.
Now 50, Mark first came to the public’s attention as the lawyer who represented Milly Dowler’s family, and more than 180 hacking victims in the News of the World phone hacking trial – a victory that was followed by the demise of the newspaper. However, stress worsens the symptoms of MS and Mark’s high-profile law career and battle with the tabloids has put his MS on fast forward.
This summer, Mark began a journey into the unknown when he became Patient 31 of 48 in a revolutionary clinical trial, conducted at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem by Dr Karussis. A trial that could offer a breakthrough cure for Mark and help for the estimated 2.5 million MS sufferers worldwide. Its cutting edge science with huge promise and researchers hope findings could positively impact other neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and for those who have suffered the debilitating effects of a stroke.
Mark knows this journey to Jerusalem is his last chance and as he says "My life is like an egg timer that the sand’s dripping through and the sand’s nearly finished. I want the Doctors to turn it round for me as I know that if someone doesn’t flip it round, that sand is slipping out."
This one off Cutting Edge 60’ documentary will follow Mark, alongside his partner Mandy and his four daughters – who have never known him without MS, as he travels back and forth to Jerusalem to be treated and tested at the Hadassah hospital where the expert team will be closely monitoring his progress. The film will explore Mark’s hopes for the trial and the impact of any improvements it yields in his condition on his life and emotional well-being as well as what it means for his family.
Channel 4 Commissioning Editor Alisa Pomeroy has commissioned Ricochet Television to make the film with Laurence Turnbull as executive producer and Bafta-winning David Modell as director. Alisa Pomeroy, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor says: “This film will provide insight into the extraordinary emotional rollercoaster ride that is a medical trial where so much is riding on the outcome. Mark’s personal emotional journey will be fused with an exploration of the revolutionary science which could transform the lives of millions.”
Laurence Turnbull, Executive Producer for Ricochet says: "Mark has had a remarkable career as a lawyer, he continues to work despite his condition, and is determined to flight this slow degenerative disease. Whatever the outcome, this will be the most important year of his life and it’s a privilege to be on the journey with him".